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How Smart Dental Professionals Handle HIPAA on Social Media

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Sharing authentic, engaging social media content that features patients while staying 100% HIPAA-compliant isn’t as complicated as you may think.

HIPAA. Even just reading the word may cause dental professionals to feel a little stressed, and understandably so. Its guidelines are strict, but HIPAA is one of the most important protections patients have in place today.

However, in the age of the connected, savvy consumer brought about by the internet and social media, potential patients want a transparent look into what really goes on inside your practice before they make a decision about whether or not to give you a call. They want to see the experiences that real patients are having with you, and how you treat them.

Because of HIPAA, many dental professionals are scared away from sharing anything at all that involves patients, and they miss valuable opportunities to build reach and relationships with patients and ideal potential patients.

HIPAA doesn’t have to be a stumbling block for your dental practice on social media. Remember that the rules are there to protect patients, not create barriers. By adhering to a few common-sense safeguards and making sure your entire team is trained, you can confidently and comfortably share photos, videos, and other posts involving patients as part of your social media efforts.

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HIPAA Guidelines for Dental Professionals on Social Media

1. Don’t post protected patient information or circumstantial details. This may seem obvious, but it can happen if team members aren’t thinking about it. Even if you don’t include a patient’s name, assume that a patient’s information can still be traced if you post about the circumstances.

2. Don’t assume information is private. If something is online, chances are that it will stay online in one form or another. Deleting a tweet or removing a Facebook post doesn’t guarantee that information is gone, so it’s essential that dental professionals catch HIPAA violations before they ever make it to social media.

3. Create a practice social media policy. Having a written policy and training your team on it ensures that everyone in the practice is on the same page and familiar with your approach to social media.

4. Make your practice’s “social media champion” someone that understands HIPAA. The fewer people that post to social media on behalf of your office, the better. It’s generally a good idea to only have one or two people in charge of social media for your dental practice. Choose team members that understand HIPAA’s rules and have dedicated time to check social media activity on your pages.

5. Get signed consent from patients first. There may be times where you want to share a
patient testimonial or answer a question sent to you on social media. It’s important to have the patient’s signed consent before posting, and even after receiving consent, keep as much personal information private as possible.

Download our Printable HIPAA Authorization Form

Every time your practice shares any post that includes or refers to a patient, it’s necessary to obtain their signed consent. A good HIPAA release form will cover a few simple items:

1. What the patient is authorizing: permission for your practice to share a photo or video on your social media accounts.
2. The purpose of the authorization: social media and/or advertising.
3. The patient’s power to revoke the authorization and the expiration date of this power.
4. The option for the patient to receive a copy of the form.
5. Who the patient is authorizing: your practice name.
6. Space for the patient, or parent/guardian of a minor, to sign and date.

If you have questions regarding how to create a HIPAA release form for your specific circumstances, consult with your practice attorney.
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Or Let Our Dental HIPAA App Handle Everything

With My Social Practice, posting HIPAA-compliant patient photos is as easy as snap, send, share. Our state-of-the-art HIPAA mobile app features the easiest way to share photos that include patients—simply, securely, and in 100% compliance with regulations.

We know that in everything you do in your practice, patient safety and comfort come first. Here at My Social Practice, we believe that same level of responsibility and patient care is vital in social media marketing as well.

Snap a pic with our iOS/Android Publisher app, and you’ll be prompted to text a link to the patient included in the photo to ask for their approval to share it. Your patient will be guided through a few intuitive, easy-to-understand steps to give you permission to share the photo to your practice’s social media accounts.

People like to do business with people they know, and the My Social Practice provides the best way to share content that showcases the people and culture of your practice, all in 100% compliance with HIPAA. Discover how easy it is to start growing your practice with social media by requesting a free demo!